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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

Be sure to check the show notes for each podcast and find blogs, reports and videos from Giving Thought and do get in touch if you have questions or suggestions at

Finally, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your podcast provider of choice.

Jan 15, 2019

In episode 41 we chat to Vinay Nair, co-founder and CEO of social good tech startup Lightful about how charities can use technology to tell their stories more effectively, and some of the key opportunities and challenges. Topics covere:

  • Why is storytelling important for charities?
  • Has social media changed the game for charities in terms of how they communicate?
  • Have some of these tools levelled the playing field between big and small (or well-known and obscure) organisations?
  • Is there sometimes a tension between focusing on individual stories/emotions and focusing on objective metrics/measures of success? Or can the two be successfully combined?
  • How well-equipped are charities to take advantage of the potential of digital? If some organisations are struggling, what are the key barriers?
  • Is there a danger that social media and online discourse create perverse incentives to sensationalise or simplify issues, because everyone is competing for scarce attention? Does this present a particular challenge for charities?
  • Social media and other new communications technology is enabling people to form communities of interest/purpose much more easily than before. Can charities harness this potential, or is there a threat that it will make them less relevant as people look to networked models of social change?
  • Giving Tuesday
  • Harnessing data and machine learning